Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Textile fragment with hearts


    • currently in research collection

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Publications online

  • Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt by Marianne Ellis

    Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt

    There are a number of embroideries in the collection with linear designs of buds and leaves on scrolling stems, palmettes, lobed rosettes and heart motifs. Almost all are worked in blue silk thread. Enough of this one has survived for us to see that originally the heart shapes were arranged alternately in upright and reversed positions. Radiocarbon dating has provided an age range starting before the Mamluk period. Looking at the whole category, however, this early date is unlikely, particularly as some are also embroidered with Mamluk heraldic blazons. One in the Röhss Museum of Applied Art and Design, Gothenburg (Sweden) has the emblem of a royal cup-bearer embroidered on a corner. All examples are worked in split or stem stitches; sometimes both stitches occur on the same piece since the only difference is whether the needle is brought up through or at one side of the previous stitch. In the case of this example, instead of working all the split stitches in the usual straight lines, the embroiderer has formed little points by changing the direction of the needle. Generally speaking, there are not a great many different stitches but there are quite a few variations of the basic ones. Here the contrast between smooth and jagged stitched outlines adds considerably to the decorative effect. Some of the motifs on Mamluk silk woven fabrics have scalloped or stepped outlines which might possibly have influenced the design of this embroidery.
  • The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries by Ruth Barnes and Marianne Ellis

    The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries

    A scrolling stem with hearts and an eight-lobed rosette is set between the remains of heart-shapes filled with scrolling tendrils and leaves; on two sides there are narrow borders of intersecting diamonds.

    The C-14 result dates the fragment 1280 +/- 50.

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